A good eye for great content : interview with videographer Reuben Warren
We craft a lot of content for our clients, and one of the people we trust to do this with is good friend of metronome, videographer Reuben Warren.
We took time out to chat with Reuben about his experiences, tips for creating an effective brief and the perils of sending up a drone near a cliff…
How did you get started in videography?
Image making has always been at the heart of my creative interests, but for a long time I was unsure of what format of making images I wanted to focus on. Following school, I started a Bachelor in Design specialising in multimedia. After four years of web design, flash coding, 2D and 3D animation and film and TV studies, I started to feel drawn to the moving image. The idea of telling stories visually through motion pictures really inspired me.
What makes a great content brief?
A great brief is kind of like Google Maps. For it to work you need to know your final destination, where you are starting from and to calculate the best path to get there. This means knowing where delays might be and figuring out ways to bypass them. Just like when Google Maps recalculates your route if you deviate, a great brief will incorporate room for creative or technical detours that might pop up.
It’s paramount to the project to have a solid strategy, it’s the compass that points the map in the right direction.
What shifts have you noticed taking place in content over the past year?
The biggest shift I have seen in content creation has been the request for multiple versions of the one video – a long version for a website or YouTube, then a shorter version for social media and an even shorter one for advertising. Having to distil the main message into various lengths is a good way to test your editing abilities.
Has technology made it easier or more difficult to meet client expectations?
It’s true you can get great results filming with a phone, but you have to know what you’re doing. Lighting and framing are the two biggest things in creating a well-exposed image that’s pleasing to the eye. That comes from experience and technology can’t replace experience.
Technology is constantly making life easier, harder and more expensive. The hardest part of new tech would be the skewing of client expectations.
For example, a client might see an ad on TV with a drone shot following a car down the Great Ocean Road. They then think a shot like that would be perfect in their next video. What they don’t understand is there are regulations about flying in certain areas and that the drone used to follow a car down the road is four times the size of the drone I have and it takes a whole team to operate, requiring special permits. That one shot would cost double the budget of their whole video.
The work that you do with metronome is quite varied, is that typical of your clients?
They say variety is the spice of life, for me that is true of the work that I do for a lot of my clients. I might be working on a motion graphics video explaining how to use a new app one week and then I’ll be filming migratory shorebirds in South Korea the next week. No two projects are the same and this is the best thing about the clients I work with and the projects they bring to the table. New challenges and new experiences, I love to learn and if I can do that on the job it’s a win-win.
Drones – any scary stories?
Drones… they make for some great shots, but also can cause a lot of stress! You really need to be aware of your surroundings and, on a few occasions, I haven’t been. My first crash was into the red cliffs of Cape Leveque, the most northern point of Western Australia. I was busy looking at the monitor and didn’t realise how low I was and flew straight into them. Luckily, the drone survived to fly another day.
All in all, I’ve had a handful of crashes and close calls ranging from hitting trees and crash landing in rainforests to clipping powerlines in suburbia. It’s a risk every time you fly, but without taking the risk you’ll never get the shot.
Any big projects you’re excited about?
Earlier this year I took time off to shoot a feature-length film in Sydney. What is particularly interesting about the film is that there is no dialogue – it’s all based on performance and movement. The challenge for me was using the camera’s perspective as its own character in the film. I am currently in the post production phase of the film and am enjoying it all come together. Hopefully, once it’s done it will be accepted into film festivals for others to see.
Some of our work with Reuben: